Sometimes when I look out of our bedroom window, I wonder what on earth we’ve taken on. Neither of us are gardeners. The last home we shared together was a terraced rented property about 10 minutes away. The landlady cleverly ensured the garden was low maintenance and we did our best to take care of it. It was only about 20ft long, if that, and well within our capabilities.
The garden we have now in our forever home is just a bit overwhelming at times. It’s roughly 100ft from the house up to the back of the garden with a patio, steps up to the lawn and a garage/outbuilding at the bottom which we use mainly for storage and a bit of a home gym. It even has a sauna in it, don’t ask! We manage to keep on top of lawn-mowing in the summer and have resurrected a tatty table and chairs for the patio in warmer weather. Mostly it’s the dog’s territory as she tears round it like a crazy thing on the hunt for foxes who play in the garden most nights.
Somehow though, despite how crazy it feels to own a space that neither of us know what to do with it, it also feels very tranquil. You can see the stars at nighttime. We’ve found frogs, toads and hedgehogs pottering about. In the early summer evenings I’ve nearly been hit in the head by stag beetles and it’s where we’ve spent endless hours playing with Maddie as a puppy until we were able to take her out walking properly.
What’s give us most frustration over the past couple of years is that the border with our neighbours on the right as you look up the garden has been entirely dominated by massive clusters of thorny brambles, a massive 20ft high pampas grass and loads of dead and ugly bushes. Underneath all that lay a rotting fence, some tatty old chicken wire and many, many holes. Dog-sized, but not people-sized. So Maddie who decides to ignore all recall when there are lovely gardens to explore, could only go out there accompanied by one of us. In the freezing cold, in the rain, we had to go out there otherwise she’d go straight next door and refuse to come back.
Now the warmer weather has arrived, we decided to get a skip on the spur of the moment and found ourselves determined to attack the jungle, spurred on by the money spent on said skip and our very lovely neighbour’s offer to fence it all for us at not cost, if he could just get to the space to get the fencing in. And so we spent two whole weekends tearing down, digging up, cutting ourselves and yanking out splinters. We had blisters on our hands and muscles building on muscles. I fell on a prong of the garden fork and narrowly avoided impaling my thigh on it but still have the huge bruise to prove it three weeks later. Here are some pictures of our garden along the time we’ve lived here. I think I took this as soon as we moved in. Notice how little ivy there is on the garage.
More ivy, but also very overgrown on the right hand side. It’s frustrating, we actually have a south-facing garden but because of the huge oak trees at the bottom we don’t always get as much light as we should. Unfortunately they’re not on our land so we can’t trim them down.
This was probably last summer. Pretty green for a London garden and look at the ivy. It’s like the Little Shop of Horrors at ours.
Finally, after all our efforts, this is what it looks like now. A little bit haphazard and a little bit bare I grant you but what a blank canvas! We’re so pleased. We’re not really sure what will come next but once we do get a bit of life back into it, there will definitely be some update posts along the way (and in typical ‘us’ fashion, we bought some lovely lights to replace the hideous broken oldfashioned ones you keep seeing in this pictures, about a year ago. Or more. Have we changed the lights? No)